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Un Roman a decouvrir: 'Jehan et Blonde' de Philippe de Remy (XIIIe siecle).

It is now generally agreed that the two romances and various poems of Philippe de Remy (or de Beaumanoir) were written by the father and not the son of the same name, as was once thought, and that Jehan et Blonde was written after La Manekine, between 1230 and 1240. In the first of the eight essays in this volume Jean Dufournet provides a general introduction to the author and the main themes of Jehan et Blonde: the need to leave behind family to seek one's fortune overseas, and social advancement through personal effort and worth. Sylvie Lecuyer then analyses the complex and subtle play of three different time-scales in the poem, and in a second essay shows how recent social and political events, together with the writer's own family history, are used deceptively to create an illusion of reality and authenticity. Literary cliches and language itself are also subverted, and there are multiple narrative voices. The text thus becomes a display of the pleasure of writing enigmatically. Literary and stylistic aspects are also analysed by Marie-Madeleine Castellani, who examines the fight scene between Jehan and the Count of Gloucester and his supporters. This carefully structured episode is a demonstration of prowess in the defence of love, and represents the triumph of the squire over the trained knight; the count and his entourage are routed by social inferiors because they are themselves unworthy. Reinforcing Lecuver, Bernard Gicquel also explores the historical background which may be reflected in the work, albeit in a way which gives a reverse image of the world around - more a travesty of reality than -a representation of it; while the gabs scene, placed in the centre of the text, is possibly a clue that the whole romance needs decrypting. Jean-Guy Gouttebroze concentrates on the portraval of marriage in the text: Philippe clearly favours free choice, and Jehan's suit is compared to that of the arrogant and inept Count of Gloucester. In spite of the abduction, Jehan's marriage is eventually blessed both by the Church and by the bride's father. Finally, there are two linguistic analyses: a vocabulary study by Nelly Andrieux-Reix, and an exploration of Philippe's love of word-play and double meaning by Dufournet, who traces the development of this experimentation with language through to his later Fatrasies.

Overall these stimulating essays encourage the reader to pay closer attention to a rather neglected but intriguing romance.
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Author:Brook, Leslie C.
Publication:Medium Aevum
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1992
Words:400
Previous Article:Le Roman de Tristan en prose, vol. 3, Du tournoi du Chateau des Pucelles a l'admission de Tristan a la Table Ronde.
Next Article:La Narration des sentiments, des pensees et des discours dans quelques oeuvres des XIIe et XIIIe siecles.
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